Trump’s Military Parade Will Not Include Heavy Vehicles

Donald Trump looks set to get the military parade he wants in Washington, on Veterans Day in November.

But a Pentagon planning memo issued on Thursday and released on Friday said the parade being planned for 11 November will “include wheeled vehicles only, no tanks consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure”.

In other words, heavy tanks could tear up the streets of DC and will thus not be allowed to rumble past the president on his reviewing stand.

The event will “include a heavy air component at the end of the parade”, the memo said, meaning lots of airplane flyovers. Older aircraft will be included as available.

The memo did not include a cost estimate. The White House budget director recently told Congress the cost to taxpayers could be between $10m and $30m.

The memo from the office of Jim Mattis, the defense secretary, offered initial planning guidance to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose staff will plan the parade along a route from the White House to the Capitol and integrate it with the city’s annual veterans’ parade.

Northern Command, which oversees US troops in North America, will execute the parade.

Trump decided he wanted a military parade in Washington after he attended France’s Bastille Day celebration in the center of Paris last July. As the invited guest of French president Emmanuel Macron, Trump watched enthusiastically from a reviewing stand as the French military showcased its tanks and fighter jets, including many US-made planes, along the Champs-Elysées.

Donald Trump watches the Bastille Day parade in Paris in July 2017. Photograph: Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

Trump praised the French display months later when he and Macron met in New York, saying: “We’re going to have to try and top it.”

Outdoing the French may be difficult without any tanks but Trump thinks the parade, which some lawmakers in both political parties have criticized, would boost the spirit of America.

“We have a great country and we should be celebrating our country,” he told Fox News in a recent interview.

The parade will focus on the contributions of veterans throughout the history of the US military, starting with the Revolutionary War, and highlight the evolution of women veterans from second world war to the present, according to the memo.

Trump, who did not serve in the Vietnam war after receiving five draft deferments, has long spoken of his admiration for military figures such as Gen George Patton and frequently makes reference to “my generals”.

Trump should be surrounded in the reviewing area at the Capitol by veterans and Medal of Honor recipients, the Pentagon memo said.

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